In what was billed as a marquee match-up between two of the best teams in the NFL will now be a match-up of back-up quarterbacks.
Early Monday morning, news broke on ESPN that 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was not able to pass tests administered by a neurologist and will not be allowed to play in the Monday night showdown with the Chicago Bears.
Alex Smith will not play tonight for 49ers, unable to get clearance from neurologist after suffering concussion last week, per sources.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 19, 2012
Smith suffered a concussion in the 49ers’ Week 10 tie against St. Louis, and his status for Monday night was in question all week.
This means Coliin Kaepernick will make the first start of his career. He has appeared in six games this season, throwing for 206 yards while completing 16 of 26 passes. He’s also be able to show off his dynamic running ability, rushing for 177 yards and three touchdowns on 21 attempts this season.
Kaepernick took over for Smith in the 2nd quarter last week against the Rams and played well. It will be Jim Harbaugh’s job to draw up a game-plan that takes the pressure off of Kaepernick, which means putting the ball in Frank Gore’s hands allowing him to do some damage. Chicago has one of the best defenses in the NFL, so it’s going to a tough match-up for the second-year quarterback.
The Bears will also be without their starter, Jay Cutler, who is sidelined with the same injury as Smith. Cutler suffered his concussion last Sunday as well. Former Raider quarterback Jason Campbell will start for the Bears.